The latest recipient of a scholarship awarded to Vietnam veteran descendants is a nearly-straight-A student who wants to use his chemical engineering degree to create a healthier planet.

“I know that chemical engineers have a lot to do with the environment and pollution prevention, and it’s important to me,” explained scholarship winner Max Vreman, a junior at Western Michigan University. “The next generation is going to have a lot of problems on their hands as it relates to global health in a lot of places.”

Detroit Chapter #9 of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA #9), through a $500,000 endowment managed by the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, established the scholarship program in 2019.

In the latest round of scholarships, three students received $3,000 each.

“We are honored to continue our partnership with the Detroit Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA) Chapter #9 to recognize outstanding students like Max Vreman, Katarina Moore and Shaylin Cota,” said Mariam Noland, president, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. “We congratulate the VVA for supporting youth whose families gave of themselves to support our country.”

Vreman of Mt. Clemens has achieved a 3.8 grade point average, is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and volunteers with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 154. His grandfather, Thomas Duff, served in the Army and fought during the Vietnam War.

“I think my grandfather might have told me about” the scholarship, Vreman said. “He was very proud and happy for me.”  The scholarship “is a huge weight off my shoulder,” Vreman added.

The other two recipients received the scholarship award for the second time. Cota, of Tawas, attends Grand Valley State University and Moore, of Royal Oak, attends the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

The scholarships are for post-secondary students ages 17-29 who are the natural or adopted direct lineal descendants of qualifying Vietnam veterans. Priority is given to descendants of Vietnam veterans who were or are members of the VVA#9 in good standing for five years. A DD Form 214 is required, and both academic performance and a family’s ability to pay for higher education are considered. The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan may require documentation to substantiate the applicant’s relationship to the Vietnam veteran.

“These scholarships are a way to help the families of those who served and to help provide access to education,” explained Paul Palazzolo, president of VVA#9.

To learn about the scholarships, go to To learn how to apply, go to